As marketers, we all know that you need to lead with the pain. And if you’ve spent any time watching paid shows on Saturday morning TV, you will be familiar with the dramatically grimacing faces of the TV actors as they attempt to cut a tin can with a regular knife, dry off their car with a regular rag, store food in the freezer with regular baggies: “You could spend hours trying to…” “You could spend hundreds of dollars trying to…” “You could create a big mess trying to…” You get my drift; identify the problem, make it sound as horrible as possible, then “wow” them with the perfect solution.
There is beautiful logic to this, and I am certainly not suggesting that we do away with this tried-and-true formula entirely. What I am suggesting is that there is a different way to go about it, and you may want to consider if it is appropriate for your next project.
Give them something to shoot for
Research has shown that people who are inspired by someone like Donald Trump are much more likely to be financially successful than those who are afraid of becoming a hobo. What does that mean? People are more inspired by reaching for something great than merely avoiding something unpleasant. Let’s apply this to a sample message:
A) Disaster can strike at any moment, wiping out your business data and subjecting you to hours of costly downtime. Online backup keeps a copy of your data safely out of harm’s way so you can recover quickly when disaster strikes.
B) You’ve worked hard to build your business, and to keep your momentum going you need everyone on your team working to their full potential every day. With online backup, your valuable business data is protected and available, so if you ever run into a glitch with your local systems, it won’t slow down progress.
You can see that these two messages, while saying the same thing, “protect your data,” frame it very differently. The trouble with example A is that we come off heavy-handed, warning someone about a disaster that they are likely to think won’t happen to them. Subtly, we are saying that we are smarter than they are, because we are telling them that they need to protect their data and why, as if they didn’t already know. In example B, we turn it around, painting a picture of unbridled success and gently reminding them that they don’t want to let anything get in the way of that. We sound more like a partner who is interested in their success, instead of a smarmy marketer trying to scare them into making a decision.
Like I said, it may not always be appropriate. But the next time you find yourself writing, “Our Company has the solution…” see if you can reframe it more inspirationally. And see how your prospects respond.
Have you tried phrasing anything inspirationally lately? Point us to it.